Welcome to the live blog and recap for the season premiere of Bachelor In Paradise!
My hopes aren't exactly high that this is going to be a normal season, considering the Hot Mess Express of a cast we've got this time around. But at least the people kicking things off with this episode seem to be the more normal of the cast. Well, except for the Ashleys. Either way, I'm kind of ready for this. Bachelor In Paradise is the definition of a reality trainwreck.
Anyway, this is night one of the two-night premiere, so there should be enough drama here to fill both nights. At least I hope so. I have no problem with The Bachelor franchise when it's wild, but it's absolutely insufferable when it's boring.
Let's get this show on the road!Credit: ABC
-Ashley I. from Chris Soules's season talks about her sister, Lauren, whom she describes as the "slutty" version of herself. (Lauren: "I'm nowhere near a virgin!")
-Jared from Kaitlyn's season talks about giving up the Love Man persona following his elimination by Kaitlyn, who he wishes were still in his life. Trust me, dude, you're a great guy, but I don't think there's anything you could have done to change Kaitlyn's mind. Girl was Team Shawn from Day 1.
-We have crazy Ashley S. from Chris Soules's season, who talks about how there's more to her than that crazy scene of her finding a pomegranate. And now I'm kind of hungry for a pomegranate, but don't want to deal with the seeds.
-Tanner from Kaitlyn's season is anxious to meet Jade, and I can't say I blame him. Chris ditching her for posing for Playboy is still an utterly perplexing decision. It's not like she had sex with anyone on camera.
-Jade from Chris Soules's season says she's doing Paradise to see if she can actually find someone out there for her after the whole ugly business with the Playboy reveal. Part of me wishes she'd been The Bachelorette.
-Jillian from Chris's season is bringing her black censorship box with her. She also got breast implants to add to her appeal. She's anxious "to meet the guys, and show off the girls." I've never seen someone so giddy about going under the knife, even for plastic surgery.
-Dan from Desiree's season has a dog. Yeah, that's all I got.
-Juelia from Chris Soules's season has a daughter named Ireland, who doesn't like any of the guys on Bachelor In Paradise that her mother shows her.
-Tenley is the runner-up of Jake's season, and she talks about the relationship she had with Kipton from The Bachelor Pad. She's heartbroken to learn that he's now going to have a child with somebody else he met after they broke up. I really don't expect someone to find a future husband here, but then, I didn't expect Marcus and Lacy last season.
-Also joining us in this episode are Carly from Chris's season (YES!), Jonathan from Kaitlyn's season, Mikey T. from Desiree's season, Kirk from Ali's season, and JJ from Kaitlyn's season.
WELCOME TO PARADISE
So we kick things off as Jade and Jared are the first arrivals and immediately hit it off. In short order, we get Tenley, Tanner, Mikey T., Carly, Jonathan, and Ashley I., who ACTUALLY BROUGHT HER FREAKING SISTER WITH HER! And Chris Harrison is allowing this, for some asinine reason (of course, I say "asinine" but the truth is that we all know damn good and well that she's here to stir the pot. Hell, she says as much in her first confessional. In a funny note, she's called 'Lauren I.', despite the lack of any other Laurens on the island so far).
So this quickly becomes weird, as the girls hate that Ashley got to bring a sibling, saying it's not fair since Lauren hasn't been on any Bachelor show. But the guys are stoked about Lauren. Particularly Jonathan, who goes from being one of the nicest, most gentlemanly guys on Kaitlyn's season, to bragging about how he's had two sisters at the same time before. Upon learning that Ashley I. is actually a virgin, he changes his tune, noting he's had virgins before too. He then makes a point of stating that virgins can be a lot of work, talking about them as if they're a science experiment of some kind. So all the guys start puffing out their chests for Lauren, with Mikey T. taking her out into the ocean while Ashley I. basically rolls her eyes at Lauren, of course, getting a guy. But Lauren isn't actually into Mikey, since he's sort of a meathead. However, they do make a pact over Jared, as Ashley basically calls dibs. Yes, it's come to this.
Juelia and Kirk arrive as Paradise gets pretty crowded, and the alcohol starts flowing. And, as if on cue, here comes Jillian and her new boobs, which have the men completely hypnotized. Once again, Jonathan is the de facto perv, talking about wanting to "take a bite out of that", although he seems every bit as stunned by the neon green bikini she's wearing as he is by the boobs. JJ quickly follows, and right away, everyone starts talking trash about him behind his back, making fun of his face, and ripping him for treating people badly. The last person to arrive is Ashley S., who initially thinks she's the last person to arrive at Paradise for the season. Chris Harrison assures her that she isn't, but no sooner does he get the words out than Ashley's attention immediately turns to the birdcage nearby. Parrots and parakeets must be her spirit animals, or something. Of course, once Ashley S. actually gets on the beach, she's very well-received. Kirk, in particular, is impressed by how normal she seems, as he was expecting a total "inability to conversate". I think "converse" is the word you're looking for, my friend.
Chris Harrison then arrives to reveal the rules: the men will be handing out the roses this week, which means at least one woman will be leaving this week. So the only way to stay is to end up in a relationship before the rose ceremony. However, there's a catch regarding Ashley I. and her sister, Lauren: if a man offers a rose to one sister, then both sisters stay. Ashley I. thinks this is great, since her sister will "slut it up" and win over the guys, which will allow her to stick around longer as well.
But that's not the only twist, as Chris leads the cast to a scenic beach setting and has them all take a seat. Everyone thinks it's going to be a rose ceremony, but it turns out it's...
THE WEDDING OF MARCUS AND LACY
Marcus and Lacy met last season on Bachelor In Paradise, and now they're tying the knot. You'd think they'd have turned this into a date event for the contestants, instead of springing this on them. Give them all a chance to get dressed up and pair off. Then again, I'm sure that's going to happen anyway, albeit with considerably fewer articles of clothing. Anyway, Marcus and Lacy look like a million bucks apiece, particularly Lacy, whose dress is...well, lace-y. Honestly, if you'd told me last season that these two would end up getting married a year later, I'd have laughed my ass off. But I'm admittedly happy to have been proven wrong. This franchise needs all the success stories it can get.
Chris officiates the marriage, while Marcus and Lacy tearfully exchange vows. He quotes "More Today Than Yesterday" by the Spiral Staircase in his vows, which shows he's a man of fine musical tastes, in addition to being outrageously handsome (seriously, I'm straight, but even I can't front. Let's be real).
Apropos of nothing (or maybe everything), I never really got the appeal of beach weddings. The crashing waves are doing a number on the audio. And the water is creeping perilously close to where the ceremony is taking place. But at least it appears to be the twilight hour, so they're well past high tide. And, really, they couldn't have asked for better weather.
Marcus toasts the couples, and Lacy throws her bouquet, which is caught by Juelia. You know, the more I think of it, the more I wonder why they had all the new people first rather than the people Marcus and Lacy actually knew from last season. Then again, I imagine it'd be pretty awkward to have all of your exes at your wedding. Then again-again, Marcus and Lacy were pretty much exclusive the entire season, save for a hiccup or two.
THE CRYING GAME
The sun is down, the liquor is out, and people are getting into the pool. The big takeaway, however, is that everybody loves Jade. The guys are all gathered around her and angling for time. And, again, I find it really hard to blame any of the guys for their enthusiasm about her, although I do think this entire thing is weirdly clique-ish and high school-esque. Not that I expected any less, mind you, but I don't remember it turning into high school this quickly last season.
But Lauren is suddenly crying, essentially proving that she and Ashley I. are sisters, since it all seems to be for no reason. Ashley I. says it's because of the suddenness of her new surroundings, but in addition to feeling empathy with her sister, she's also a bit worried about what Lauren leaving could mean for her own possibility of sticking around. "I hate people, that's a problem too," Lauren says, in attempting to explain herself.
Ultimately, she chooses to just go to bed. Ashley I. says she entirely expected this from her sister on the first night, which begs the question of why the hell she brought her in the first place, unless it was some sort of producer-mandated twist (which, honestly, wouldn't surprise me). Ashley I. once again brings up how badly she wants to get with Jared, and the editing is hitting this so hard that I see almost no way he doesn't end up hooking up with Lauren. Seriously, Ashley I. just goes on and one about how perfect he is, only to get near him and completely freeze. It's played for laughs, but Ashley I. actually cries about her inability to overcome her awkwardness in her confessional.
Kirk and Carly hit it off, as they compare hands and feet for some reason. Carly compares her attraction to Kirk with being in high school, as she's completely giggly. I could imagine some people would find her laugh obnoxious, but I actually find it kind of intoxicating. Anyway, this collapses into full-on awkwardness, as Carly desperately wants Kirk to kiss her, but he just stares at her and then looks away, then stares at her and looks away, then stares at her and looks--JUST KISS HER ALREADY, YOU MORON! (Carly even says this in her confessional!)
Eventually, Carly gets tired of waiting and just goes for it herself, and just like that, we have our first makeout sesh of Bachelor In Paradise Season 2! Carly and Kirk then go their separate ways and tell their friends about it in a total "Summer Lovin'" moment, as Kirk tries to play it off like he made the first move ("From my last experience here, I learned that if you hold back, you're an idiot") while Carly affirms she made the first move (noting just how hot the kiss was). We then move away from the pleasant interlude with Carly and Kirk, and return to The iSisters Show.
Ashley I. finally makes progress with Jared when talking about how Jasmine is her favorite Disney princess. Jared off-handedly tells her she looks like Jasmine, and Ashley I. just BEAMS from the compliment, noting she's wearing her Jasmine bikini. But her high is immediately interrupted when Jared asks Jade to come with him out into the ocean to get their feet wet. Ashley I. watches them from afar like a hawk, convinced they're making out on the beach when they're not even a foot near each other. Seriously, if she doesn't get a hold of her jealousy issues, she's going to have a bad time. In fact, she goes downright insane, crying in her confessional about how rare it is to find a guy she actually likes, before bursting out into maniacal laughter. Both iSisters are gorgeous, but I could imagine them steering men to their doom a la the Sirens from The Odyssey.
SHE WENT TO JARED
The morning after, we're back to focusing on Ashley I. and Lauren. Mikey T. doesn't want to give up on Lauren just yet, saying it's just nature to try and jump on something you want. Meanwhile, Ashley I. is terrified that a date card is going to come in, and it's not going to be her. Of course, when the date card comes, it can only be for one person: Ashley I.
JJ wants the date, even though he's not even all that interested in Ashley I., because he wants to do something other than sit on his ass all day. Naturally, Ashley I. is eager to ask Jared, but she's also terrified that he won't want to go with her. Honestly, if she'd seen any of Kaitlyn's season, she'd probably know he's too much of a gentleman to say no. Then again, a lot of the guys there think Jared is going to say no. JJ thinks Jared looks "morose" at the possibility of going on a date with Ashley I., whereas Jared himself says he doesn't know if he'd say yes or not. He's not even convinced she's going to ask him. "It could be anybody here," he says, as if trying desperately to convince himself. Lauren sits with Ashley I. to help her prep for the big moment, as they run through how to ask Jared out, since she's never asked a guy on a date before. I actually feel just awful for Ashley I. here, because her lack of confidence is really coming through. She's absolutely stunning, but her lack of experience with men complicates things for her, and I think it's kind of lousy for the show to play her confidence issues for laughs like this. She breaks down crying again and struggles to keep herself together, taking one last swig of alcohol before meeting up with Jared.
The big moment comes, and it turns out everyone was overreacting for nothing: Jared quickly says yes, and Ashley I. is immediately relieved. And, honestly, I'm relieved for her. I don't think I could have handled watching the awkwardness of a rejection there any better than she could have handled living it. Anyway, Ashley I. seems to have some of her confidence back, declaring that Jared could be her Aladdin, and saying he could "rub the s*** out of MY lamp." I love how the only virgin in Paradise is the one talking the raunchiest.
But it's Jade who is experiencing jealousy now, however, as she really wanted to go on a date with Jared. "I hope they're not having too much fun," she says, worrying that her inability to make a connection will spell doom for her time in Paradise.
OFF THE MARKET
Ashley I. and Jared's date involves getting muddy, as they take an off-road vehicle and go exploring. They both look like they're having a blast, but back at Paradise, Tanner says he doesn't see them together at all. In fact, he thinks Jared is simply being a good sport, and that he feels no connection to Ashley I. at all. On the date, I can kind of see what Tanner is talking about, as Jared looks for something (anything) to talk to Ashley about, settling on horoscopes. And of course, Ashley feels this is another destined sign, as Pisces and Scorpios are statistically likely to get married.
Things start to loosen up between them once they get to a nearby beach. They go swimming, and seem to be having a good time until Ashley I. decides to bring up Kaitlyn. Jared looks pained to be answering these questions, as Ashley I. notes in a confessional that it's only been a month since he was dumped. I think it's telling that we aren't getting any confessionals from Jared, as it keeps us from knowing what, exactly, he's thinking. That said, Jared is a total gentleman, saying that while watching Kaitlyn end up with a close friend hurt, he's glad to be on this one-on-one date with Ashley I. (they clink a glass of champagne as Ashley I. looks like she's about to pass out from joy).
Meanwhile, Kirk seems conflicted to learn that he and Carly are viewed as a couple, since this means many of the other girls view him as being "off the market". Everyone is still obsessed with Jade, and things get more complicated when she receives the date card. She's torn between Jared and Tanner, and while I think Jared is a fabulous guy, Tanner practically came here for Jade, so I'm rooting for him. Jade admits she'd ask Jared if he were here, but he's still out on the date with Ashley I. As if on cue, Jared returns, and Tanner is bitter at the possibility of Jared getting another one-on-one date before the mud has even dried from his last one. For his part, Jared is excited by the possibility of getting to go out with Jade, noting that while he'd love to get to know Ashley I. better, "of course" he'd love to take Jade out. But when she makes her decision, Jade surprises everyone by picking Tanner.
We jump immediately to the date, as Jade and Tanner have dinner. Jade notes how handsome and romantic Tanner is, while Tanner goes on about how gorgeous Jade is, and how The Bachelorette experience taught him he needs to open up. He expresses his admiration of Jade for opening up to Chris and owning her Playboy past. He even jokes that he's got a Playgirl shoot scheduled for next month, playing it super cool. Granted, I don't really see any of the "instant chemistry" Jade claims she and Tanner have.
ONE LESS ASHLEY
So everyone notices that Ashley S. is missing from the cocktail party. It's then that they notice the presence of an ambulance. Ashley S. is being strapped to a stretcher and loaded into the back of the ambulance, with IVs running through her. Dan runs after her, confusing the other women there, who don't know if he's curious or if he has a thing for Ashley S. (if he did, I wouldn't necessarily blame him. She IS quite pretty).
But we break up the drama by checking back in with Tanner and Jade, who can't believe his luck at being picked by Jade, as he has butterflies around her. He tells Jade he never expected he'd get to try and have something with her, and that comment wins her over, as Jade kisses him. He then kisses her back, deeply and more passionately. In a confessional, Tanner says he feels more of a connection with Jade in a few days than he felt with Kaitlyn in the entire last season of The Bachelorette. DAMN!
Speaking of DAMN!, Tanner and Jade go for a dip in the water and have a pretty hot makeout session. Jade expresses her surprise, in a confessional, at how much she's feeling Tanner, as it goes beyond the physical with him. And the pair-offs continue back at Paradise, as Ashley I. sits with Jared at dinner while Carly snuggles with Kirk. Then, we get the final stinger of the episode...CLARE ARRIVES!
Chris said that of all the people he expected to return from last season, Clare was not one of them. Clare says she'll never give up on love, while Chris jokes that the oncoming hurricane off-shore may be an omen that Hurricane Clare is here. However, Chris doesn't exactly help keep the waters calm, as he hands Clare a date card. I'm sure this will totally end well.
As the episode ends, Clare declares that the people she's here to connect with in Paradise are Tanner, Kirk and Jared...the three guys who are paired up already. This is going to be a disaster of epic proportions. I can't wait.
We never do find out what happened to Ashley S. though. I guess we'll find out tomorrow. Hope she's alright, although I can't pretend I'll be too broken up over her departure if she gets sent home.
And that's a wrap! What did you think of tonight's season premiere of Bachelor In Paradise? Sound off in the comments!
And join us tomorrow night for part two of the two-night Bachelor In Paradise season premiere!